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Google Play Music in India may not hit the right notes

business Updated: Sep 28, 2016 19:21 IST
Anirban Ghoshal
Anirban Ghoshal
Hindustan TImes
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Internet giant Google has launched its music service platform Google Music in India.

The company announced a slew of India-specific services on Tuesday. However, the music launch was not part of the announcement. It was confirmed by the company when the service went live on Wednesday.

A single track costs Rs 15-18, while a music album can be bought for Rs 75-140. The offerings include songs from latest Bollywood flicks to old Hindi tracks. What’s more, you also get cloud space to store up to 50,000 songs.

However, one will have to purchase each song as Google hasn’t introduced its Play Music Access All service in India yet. Through Access All, users get the ability to listen to as many songs as they like on YouTube Red and Google Play Music for a monthly subscription of $9.99.

“Now you can download your favourite local and global music on Google Play in India, plus get free storage for up to 50,000 songs from your music collection. Currently these services are only available to users with international credit cards, but we’ll be expanding to additional forms of payment soon,” a Google spokesperson told HT.

Analysts, however, differ on the subscription model.

“In India, the subscription model works better than pay per download model. Look at all the apps, including Apple music, everyone has a subscription model or an advertisement-based model under free subscriptions,” Tarun pathak, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, told HT.

“Also, Google’s move to allow only international debit/credit cards to purchase from its music store can narrow the company’s window of opportunity to grab more users. Carrier billing would also take some time to take off as only Airtel and Idea have such options for app store purchases.”

Consumers might also face another issue with Play Music — downloading the entire portfolio of songs just like on Apple Music or Saavn if the device is changed, or the account is logged on from another device.

India is currently home to similar apps, including Airtel-owned Wynk and Times Internet-owned Gaana. While Wynk lets users stream up to 100 songs a month without advertisements under the free subscription model, Gaana lets users stream free music with advertisements. Users can choose between three paid subscription models for Gaana — Rs 297 for three months, Rs 549 for six months and Rs 999 for a year. Wynk, launched in September 2014, has already crossed 30 million downloads.

Saavn also has an ad-based streaming model. The company, which claims to have over 11 million active monthly users, offers a pro subscription as well. Under the pro subscription, which currently costs Rs 99, users can download unlimited songs and access them on five different devices.